How the ID Hoax was Perpetrated

And another article from the NY Times, this time an op-ed with an excellent summary of how the intelligent design nutcases have pushed it into the mainstream, and duped millions of people in the process. He brings up a good point that I had pondered (and feared) as well: The attacks against the theory of evolution would work equally well against, say relativity or quantum theory.

Think about this for a moment: If those pushing ID can convince people about how ridiculous sounding the theory of evolution is, just imagine what could be done with quantum theory and some of it’s consequences: they completely defy common sense, and yet they appear to be completely true. The only reason these things aren’t targeted is because they don’t offend the common fundamentalist religious types – yet.

I especially like these paragraphs toward the end:

The Discovery Institute, the conservative organization that has helped to put intelligent design on the map, complains that its members face hostility from the established scientific journals. But establishment hostility is not the real hurdle to intelligent design. If intelligent design were a scientific idea whose time had come, young scientists would be dashing around their labs, vying to win the Nobel Prizes that surely are in store for anybody who can overturn any significant proposition of contemporary evolutionary biology.

Remember cold fusion? The establishment was incredibly hostile to that hypothesis, but scientists around the world rushed to their labs in the effort to explore the idea, in hopes of sharing in the glory if it turned out to be true.

Instead of spending more than $1 million a year on publishing books and articles for non-scientists and on other public relations efforts, the Discovery Institute should finance its own peer-reviewed electronic journal. This way, the organization could live up to its self-professed image: the doughty defenders of brave iconoclasts bucking the establishment.

Very good read.